John Barnard, Sr.

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John Barnard, Sr.

Also Known As: "Headless John"
Birthdate: (63)
Birthplace: London, Greater London, United Kingdom
Death: 1783 (59-67)
Tennessee, United States (Beheaded by Indians)
Immediate Family:

Husband of Sarah Barnard
Father of John B. Barnard, Jr.; Jacob Benjamin Barnard; Rueben Barnard; Jonathan Barnard; Joseph Barnard and 3 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Barnard, Sr.

In 1783, a John Barnard listed as "Old" was outside of Freeland's Station also known as "Dentris Lick" clearing brush with two other men when they were surprised by Indians. The indian's killed them all, but they cut off Barnard's head & ran off with it. This Fort/Station was south/west of Nashville, Tn. A Walter Barnard claimed his father's grant for clearing the land & some say that he [ John ] was the father of the "Seven Barnard Brother's" who met after the Revol War at Bristol, Va. and went to different states. There are some researcher's who say he had a Zadock & Jacob/Benjamin Barnard, but we haven't confirmed.

Per Terry Barnard (TER2LIN@CASSCOMM.COM)

In my tree Dalton would have been a married name as she had a son, Lewis Dalton named in John Lane's will.. She also had sons named Barnard spelled out in John Lane's will and from his will we know she was married to John Lane. Also the John Barnard, who was her husband has nearly the same dates as the John Barnard killed by Indians at Denton's Lick, TN and was beheaded. We refer to him as "Headless John"

According to an affidavit by William Hardin, John was killed by Indians. Legend has it he was beheaded about 1780 at Freelands Landing in Davidson Co. TN. There is another tree for this John Barnard with his birth date shown as 1720 and death date of 1783 (court record states 1780)

ONE THING THAT CHARLOTTE SAID WAS THAT OLD JOHN WAS KILLED AT FREELAND'S STATION THEN CALLED "DENTON'S LICK". SHE REFERENCED THE 1770-1790 Census of The Cumberland Settlements page 6 which stated: Bernard, John---Referred to as "old", was beheaded by Indians in 1780, and his head carried away. He was, at the time, making improvements at Freeland's Station, then called Denton's Lick. He was listed in the NC Act of 1784, as one of the settlers on the Cumberland who had died there prior to passage of this Act, which granted 640 acres to his heirs or devisees without any price to be paid to the public.

Soon thereafter a man named BERNARD was at work on his clearing near what is now Beuna Vista Springs. So busily engaged was he with his work that he did not hear the stealthy footfalls of the approaching savages. Creeping up to within easy range the latter shot him dead in his tracks, after which they cut off the head of their victim and carried it away in triumph.

17 OCTOBER 1779

If I the John Barnard should not return from running the Cuntry(County?) Line that his daughter Patty Whitmier, shall have his bed & furniture, 3 plates & 2 basons? and my daughter, Moly Paine, to have my cow and my son, Walter, to have my mare and my land and the above _ _ _ un_ and all my money and all my other afaris's (affairs?)

an witness my hand the day and date above written.


John X Barnard

Wm. Hardin

William Hardin testified that John Barnard, while making out his will of 17 October 1779, had told him that he had taken care of his older children previously.

From "The Overmountain Men" by Pat Alderman

"During the year 1780, at least 37 men were killed by the Indians. A partial list is given, but as records were sparsely kept, many names, dates and places are impossible to obtain. Keywood and Miliken were fired on at Richland Creek, Miliken was killed. Keywood managed to escape. Captain Rains moved his family to the Fort where they lived for four years. Joseph Hay was killed on Lick Branch, Bernard was slain and beheaded at Denton's Lick. Joseph and William Dunkam, two small boys with Bernard, escaped."

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John Barnard, Sr.'s Timeline

London, Greater London, United Kingdom
January 24, 1755
Age 35
England, United Kingdom
Age 38
Middlesex, UK
January 1, 1760
Age 40
London, Greater London, UK
Age 42
Middlesex, UK
Age 44
London, Greater London, UK
Age 46
Middlesex, UK
Age 48
London, Middlesex Co, England
Age 63
Tennessee, United States